To be honest I can’t remember how I found Billy. Chances are it was through my daily surf of flickr. What I can tell you is his work stood out so much that I had to visit his site. Anyway have a read and enjoy.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am a 26 years old photographer based in Washington D.C. I decided to attempt to make the transition to a professional photographer in 2009, I’ll let you know how that works out. Honestly, I feel like I am still trying to figure out how to technically make images. I still look at many photographers work and ask myself “how the hell did they make that image?” As far as being creative, I feel like I am just starting to figure it out. I am constantly striving to improve.
What made you get into photography?
I am not exactly sure how it happened. I was 12 and we moved from North Carolina to Arizona. We had no family out there and I knew no one. I suddenly found myself in this strange setting with a completely different landscape from the east coast. It was something I had never seen before. This was a place where you could literally see for miles. The farthest you can see in North Carolina is a few hundred feet unless you are on top of a mountain or at the beach. I found myself in this beautiful landscape wanting to explore. For my birthday that year, I asked for a camera and got an old Pentax k1000 and quickly shot through my entire film budget.
How did you get started?
After my initial bout with 35mm film from about 1997-1998 (age 12-13), my parents quickly got tired of paying for roles of film and development costs and we had moved back to the east coast, Virginia this time. I started a new school in a new place and before I knew it I was in high school. Lets just say I didn’t spend a whole lot of time focused on the “school” aspect of things. I was too busy having fun with my friends and I had forgotten about my camera for many years. Then in 2007 I was planning a trip to Peru and decided I should get a decent camera for the trip so I made some moves and purchased a Pentax k10d and a few lenses. From that point on I fell back in love with photography and it has slowly taken over my life since then.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
I photograph people mostly. But I really like to be eclectic with my photography and will gladly photograph landscapes, wildlife, or anything else even mildly stimulating that I happen to have the opportunity to shoot. I’m inspired a lot by what I come across on the web and it inspires me to venture out and try new things. Most of that goes up on my website, www.billytidwell.com.
What gear are you using?
Right now my kit includes a Nikon d700, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 50 1.4, 85 1.4 Alien bees lights, some hot shoe flashes, a Macbook Pro and an i7 4.2ghz Hackintosh. I also have a canon 5d2 on loan from the National Gallery of Art for a project I am shooting for them.
Whats your favourite lens and why?
Well I just recently got the Sigma 85 1.4 which kicks ass, Sharp at 1.4, accurate focus and excellent bokeh. Funny story, I got it on the day of President Obama’s State of the Union address. I had gotten a call that morning to see if I could come in and do some behind the scenes shots of the coverage at the CBS News studio in Washington DC. Being the kind of person I am I decided I would use that opportunity to test out the new lens. (risky I know) Thankfully it didn’t disappoint. I also love my Nikon 70-200 2.8 vrII which is a workhorse – blazing fast accurate focus and sharp wide open with amazing color and bokeh. I grab the sigma when I want lightweight and ultimate bokeh. The 70-200 when I need versatility and really fast autofocus.
How are you marketing yourself?
I don’t do too much active marketing at the time being. I know this is something that needs to change but right now all my paid work has come from word of mouth and connections. My work gets posted to my website, www.BillyTidwell.com, as well as my flickr account and that serves to generate some online interest.
Whats your favourite photo you have taken?
I don’t know that I will ever be able to call any of my photos a favorite because I am never really truly satisfied. With that being said, here is an image I really like. I think it has a bit of a magical quality to it that I really like in some of my images
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
I still haven’t figured this one out but my best advice would be to be outgoing. So many artists are introverted and that doesn’t help when you are trying to support yourself financially with your art. You have to get out there and sell yourself as an artist and that means showing up with a smile on your face and making sure people want to recommend you to others.